First known portrait of the Reading Symphony Orchestra, most likely at the end of the second season (1932-1933) Restoration: Rachel DiNoto

First known portrait of the Reading Symphony Orchestra, most likely at the end of the second season (1932-1933)

Restoration: Rachel DiNoto

Our History


The Reading Symphony Orchestra has on old and cherished tradition of providing quality music to the Greater Reading Community.

It all began in 1931 when a talented and dedicated Reading High School music teacher named Samuel W. Peck brought together a few high school students and interested musicians and started the Reading Civic Orchestra rehearsing in the home of Mrs. Bigelow, where he was boarding.

From those humble beginnings, the Reading Symphony Orchestra grew and went on to survive the depression of the 1930's, a world war, a number of international conflicts, and Sunday afternoon football as well.

Over those years, the Reading Symphony Orchestra had six conductors and outstanding guest artists such as Arthur Fiedler, Virgil Fox, Percy Aldridge Grainger, Jesus Maria Sanroma, Joseph Silverstein, Mia Chung, and Haldan Martinson.

In 2014, George Ogata became the seventh music director of the Reading Symphony Orchestra.

We have attracted players from over 30 communities and four states, and played to an increasingly wider audience in a variety of venues.

With a mission to provide a performance outlet for talented musicians of all ages and occupations, the Reading Symphony Orchestra is especially reaching out to young people to learn and appreciate music and to help us all become the best we can be through our love and appreciation of the arts.


The Seven Music Directors

  • Samuel A. W. Peck (1931-1944)
  • Cyrus D. Thompson (1945-1948)
  • Weston L. Brannen (1948-1963)
  • James L. Roth (1963-1980)
  • Daniel Abbott (1980-1997)
  • Roland Vasquez (1997-2014) 
  • George Ogata (2014-        )